Ken Jones, a prominent figure in the LGBTQ+ community, served as the first black president of San Francisco Pride. Throughout his life, Jones was dedicated to fighting for equality, inclusion, and social justice. His accomplishments as an activist, organizer, and leader have left a lasting impact on the LGBTQ+ community.
Ken Jones was born in 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama, during a time of intense racial segregation and discrimination. Growing up in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, he witnessed firsthand the power of collective action and the importance of fighting for justice. These experiences would shape his future activism
In the early 1970s, Jones moved to San Francisco, a city known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ community. He quickly became involved in various LGBTQ+ organizations and began advocating for equal rights. In 1978, Jones played a crucial role in organizing the city's first candlelight march honoring Harvey Milk and George Moscone following their tragic assassinations.
Jones's commitment to community organizing led him to serve on the board of the San Francisco Pride Celebration Committee. In 1990, he made history by becoming the first black president of San Francisco Pride. Under his leadership, Pride events became more inclusive, diverse, and focused on issues such as racial equality, transgender rights, and HIV/AIDS advocacy. During his tenure, Jones made it a priority to amplify the voices and experiences of marginalized communities within the LGBTQ+ movement. He worked to ensure that Pride events provided a platform for individuals from diverse backgrounds to be heard and celebrated.
In addition to his work with San Francisco Pride, Jones contributed to numerous other LGBTQ+ organizations including the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays and the International Association of Lesbian/Gay Pride Coordinators. Through these roles, he fostered collaboration and cooperation between LGBTQ+ communities across the country and around the world. Jones's advocacy extended beyond Pride events. He actively campaigned against discriminatory legislation and fought for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS. His dedication to addressing the intersecting issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community, particularly communities of color, made him a respected and influential figure within the movement.
In recognition of his contributions, Ken Jones received several prestigious awards, including the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Award from the San Francisco LGBT Democratic Club and the Pride Freedom Award from the San Francisco Pride organization. These honors reflected the deep appreciation for his tireless efforts and unwavering commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights. Ken Jones passed away in 2020, leaving behind a legacy of activism, leadership, and advocacy.